Sunday, December 12, 2010


In the summer of 2007 and 2008, my sister spent her summer in Alaska. I went to visit her both summers. The summer I went in 2007, it was completely life changing. (That was the summer that Seth friended me on MySpace, too. It was July 3rd, 2007. I was sitting in an internet cafe in downtown Juneau and we exchanged a few emails). Anyways, I ran across this little faux blog that I wrote shortly after I got back that summer. I still love it and when I read it, it reminds me how much fun my sister and I had.

My sister, Holly, is about 18 months younger than me. We've always been extremely close and have been best friends since the day she was born. No matter what, I know I can call her and I can depend on her, and she'll always be there for me. We never really fought, and when we did, it was always over very quickly. We were always off in our own little world together and would do everything together while growing up. We're VERY different though. Once she went off to college, she found herself and she changed. She's still my little sister though and I'd do anything for her no matter what. I'm pretty traditional when it comes to most things, and she does what she wants, when she wants, how she wants. I'll have to do a blog about her one of these times.

Anywho, here's the little blog I wrote from September 4, 2007. (And lots of great pictures).

Raincoats and Juneau

It’s raining today and as I was getting my raincoat out of the closet, I got a whiff of the campfires and the sweaty smell that had penetrated my pink raincoat. Yes, it has been washed, but the smell of a good campfire is hard to get rid of, and quite frankly, I like the smell for many reasons.

It reminds me of 4th of July when Holly and I ran down the shore and mooned a cruise ship as it was leaving the Gastineau Channel, while we left the other people to build the campfire. That was really the first night I fell in love with my pink raincoat, as it hadn’t really rained the first week I was in Juneau.

It reminds me of the good times I had with Holly, my best friend, on the camping trip we took to Douglas Island, where Anthony brought a 45 mm gun, in case we encountered a bear. It reminds me of the boat ride we took to get to the island, where I was freezing cold from the wind, as we were floating across the water in the 17ft. skiff that I thought I would be scared of, but I wasn’t. And then I shed my raincoat once we pulled ashore because it was so soo warm outside. When I look at those pictures, of Douglas Island, I can feel the warmth of the sun on my back and on my face. It makes me smile and I miss it soooo much. It reminds me of the nights we spent camping that I used my raincoat as a pillow, as I intentionally left behind my real pillow at home. Or the nights I slept in my raincoat to keep warm.

(the porcupine that greeted us on the island when we arrived)

(The tide was so low and the water was pretty choppy, so Anthony had to let us out before we rounded the tip of the island. Then he walked the boat around the tip of the island, where we were able to tie it up).

(All of our gear. We spent one night and we brought THAT much!!! Andrew brought his guitar, we had a couple of coolers of alcohol, and there were 4 tents for 5 people. We travel "light.")

(Camp is set up. The ground was sooo soft here!! It was a big mossy bed and so comfortable)

(I went to go pee away from the rest of the group. I was facing the ocean and this was the most beautiful sight I've ever witnessed while going doing my business).

(Later that night, I went to peek out of the woods and saw the most gorgeous sunset ever).

(The next morning).

(See our boat in the background? See how far away it is from the water? Yeah, we were waiting for a good couple of hours for the tide to come in so we didn't have to literally pick up and carry the boat to the water. To kill time, we drank the rest of the beers, found a piece of driftwood and then proceeded to play baseball with empty beer cans and the driftwood as the bat. We also played golf with the driftwood and beer cans. Andrew played his guitar, we shot Anthony's gun and I wittled away a little piece of wood...I made it so sharp, I could probably have pierced a fish with it! We did this until it was getting later in the afternoon and it was taking too long for the tide to come in and we didn't want to be on the water in our small boat in the dark, soooo, we did this...)

(Found some driftwood logs, carried them to the boat and rolled the boat over the logs, until the boat was over the last log. Then we'd get the logs from the back and put them in front of the boat again (is there a term for this process?! If so, I have no idea...) until the boat and the water were reunited in love. That boat was HEAVY!).

It reminds me of the time we spent in Haines, hiking with our five beer growlers, sweating our asses off and hoping to hitch a ride. (We succeeded, six different times, I might add). It reminds me on our hike to Battery Point in Haines, walking through the rain forest and getting all muddy and loving it. And the night we went to the Haines Library (voted the best small library in America in 2005), semi-drunk, and walked back to camp in the drizzly rain, cold and wishing we could build a campfire in the rain.

(Our five beer growlers...made out of glass and completely full. Again, we travel light).

(Notice our strategic tent set up...within a few feet of the bear food pole. In our defense, it was a very small campground (not even like a real campground, just a big open lawn area, right on the ocean. We could hear the waves crashing against the rocks all night long. It was beautiful). The other campers were all on the other side of the little grassy area, and we wanted to be away from them. So we set up our camp away from them. We didn't realize this until the follow day after our hike...we were walking down a hill when we noticed we set up camp pretty much right below the bear food pole!!! Luckily we made it out alive and I'm able to tell this story now).

(Looking out at the water on the hike to battery point. I love the different colors of the water).

(Tip of Battery Point, Haines, Alaska. Looking towards the town of Haines).

It reminds me of the time I spent on the whale watching boats, looking at humpback whales bubble netting, spouting and lifting their tails out of the water.

(The second time I went whale watching, it was a very foggy morning. This is when we saw the humpback whales bubble netting).

(The mama humpbacks getting ready to bubble net).

It reminds me of fishing on the dock for salmon and Holly repeatedly telling me that I look pretty dorky in my pink raincoat, with my hood on.

(Everyone was fishing off the docks here. Everyone caught so many fish. I spent a whole afternoon watching person after person real in another salmon).

(Someone cleaning a freshly caught salmon).

(We went back that night with my sister and some of her friends. Steve caught 3 salmon really quickly... and I caught a log....

(Steve taught Holly and I how to gut and clean a fish. A few days later, we had a big salmon feast and cooked them many different ways. Above is me gutting and cleaning the fish).

(Here I am holding the fish tail I chopped off. I still can't believe I did that. It was so cold and slimy and gross...but cool).

It reminds me of the glacier cruise that I took alone, on the Tracy Arm Fjord tour, where the walls of the fjord were upwards of 7,000 feet high, where there were chunks of ice floating in the water and I was standing outside on the boat, looking at South Sawyer Glacier calving, and watching 40 or 50 seals resting on the ice bergs or sliding off the ice bergs and eagles flying over head. It was about 40 degrees that day and I was so extremely cold and I spent the day shivering because there was NO heat on the boat and I only had my pink raincoat, a green sweater and a t-shirt.

(Getting ready to enter the Tracy Arm Fjord. The little black thing on the top right side of this glacier is a bald eagle. An iceberg is 10% above water and 90% below water. You can imagine how enormous this iceberg is).

(Another beautiful iceberg).

(A beautiful waterfall along the fjord).

(Walls of the fjord)

(Waterfall in the fjord)

(Getting closer to Sawyer Glacier. With all of the smaller icebergs in the water and our little boat going slowly over them, it made me feel like I was on the Titanic. It was actually pretty scary...I was on this boat with like 50 strangers. My sister had to work that day, but I really wanted to go on this tour, so I went on it all by myself. It was a full 8 hour tour that left from Juneau, went down to and back from the fjord, and then back into Juneau).

(South Sawyer Glacier, in Tracy Arm Fjord, south of Juneau, Alaska)

(South Sawyer Glacier)

(All the little black things are seals resting on icebergs!! It was amazing to see!! We got to see them jump up onto the icebergs, slide into the water and they kept staring at us. They were adorable!!!!)

When I got home, I was sad to wash the smell of these memories away. It doesn’t smell like ‘me,’ which is typically a Dior or Calvin Klein or Clinique or Davidoff perfume. It smells like campfires and sweat and good times in Juneau, Alaska. (For the record, I didn’t wear perfume in Alaska - shocking, if you know me).

I heard The Counting Crow’s “A Long December” yesterday and I was reminded of my last night in downtown Juneau, that Holly, Aimon and I spent at Pizzeria Romo’s, eating the shit out of the pesto pizza, talking about what that song reminds us of. And drinking beer, after Holly had ordered one and the waiter guy said, “are you being serious- you want that kind?”

I was fearless in that pink raincoat. I did things I never thought I would do, never imagined I could do. But I did them, and sure enough, I lived through all of those experiences. And I would do it all again in a heartbeat.

1 comment:

  1. Gorgeous pictures! My parents spent some time camping around Alaska and loved it. I would love to venture up there some day.